This Budget-Conscious Bamboo House Is a Slice of Paradise

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By Lucy Wang
Built for $93,200, this tropical holiday home in Northeast Brazil features a striking, chevron-patterned bamboo exterior.

Faced with a budget of €80,000 (approximately $93,200) and a design and construction timeline of just 10 months, Brazilian architecture firm Vilela Florez had their work cut out for them in this 1,937-square-foot residence at Brazil’s renowned Pipa Beach.

Fortunately, these were the only conditions imposed by the clients—a couple who spent most of the year sailing through the Mediterranean—who had otherwise given the architects free reign in designing their holiday home.

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A pair of freestanding walls built of locally sourced natural stone bookend the pavilion-like living areas.

A pair of freestanding walls built of locally sourced natural stone bookend the pavilion-like living areas.

As a result, the architects defined the home with simple volumes: the private sleeping areas and storage are housed in a double-story volume, while the communal areas are placed in the adjacent pavilion-like space supported by treated eucalyptus pillars and a timber roof. 

Concrete masonry blocks were used for the main volume. The vertical ribs of the concrete frame were painted dark blue—a color referencing the Mediterranean—and fitted with bamboo panels arranged in a chevron pattern.

Concrete masonry blocks were used for the main volume. The vertical ribs of the concrete frame were painted dark blue—a color referencing the Mediterranean—and fitted with bamboo panels arranged in a chevron pattern.

"The bamboo panels shade the facade, helping the thermal behavior of the building," add the architects.

"The bamboo panels shade the facade, helping the thermal behavior of the building," add the architects.

To ground the home into its tropical setting, the architects relied on a locally sourced, natural material palette including timber, bamboo, and natural stone. 

Artisans made all the materials save for the Hisbalit ceramic bathroom tiles and the fiber-cement panels (from Braselite).

A series of covered bridges connect the bedrooms—that open up with glazed sliding doors—to the open-plan living areas.

A series of covered bridges connect the bedrooms—that open up with glazed sliding doors—to the open-plan living areas.

The chevron pattern is brought indoors to the bedrooms. Pivoting doors on either side of the bed provide access to the bathroom.

The chevron pattern is brought indoors to the bedrooms. Pivoting doors on either side of the bed provide access to the bathroom.

"The idea was to provide—with a very small budget—a nice space integrated in nature," explains the architecture firm of their design vision. 

"We used local materials and labor. Because of the nice climate, we decided to create the living area as a ventilated, exterior space filled with shadows and vegetation, while the only ‘interior’ space are the bedrooms."

The outdoor living area is paved in the same mosaic stone found in traditional Portuguese sidewalks.

The outdoor living area is paved in the same mosaic stone found in traditional Portuguese sidewalks.

The Bamboo House features three bedrooms to accommodate the clients' sons when they visit.

The Bamboo House features three bedrooms to accommodate the clients' sons when they visit.

The ceramic tile is from Spanish manufacturer Hisbalit.

The ceramic tile is from Spanish manufacturer Hisbalit.

Steps lead up from the bathroom to the mezzanine level above. The mezzanine is accessed via ladder in another part of the house.

Steps lead up from the bathroom to the mezzanine level above. The mezzanine is accessed via ladder in another part of the house.

The home is oriented for cooling cross winds that sweep across the pool and bring constant breezes into the bedrooms and relief from the strong tropical heat.

The home is oriented for cooling cross winds that sweep across the pool and bring constant breezes into the bedrooms and relief from the strong tropical heat.

The floor plan of Casa Bambu.

The floor plan of Casa Bambu.

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Mariana Vilela/ Daniel F. Florez

Builder/ General Contractor: Nadu empreteiros